According to data collected by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, some 350 species of birds feed at backyard bird feeders throughout the North American Continent. Only 90 of these birds are considered regular visitors to our feeders. The vast majority of the birds that eat at feeders are only casual visitors. Do you have any idea how many different birds you have fed at your feeders over the years?
Recently I tallied the number of species that have visited feeders at my Monroe County home during the past 40+ years. My wife and I have tallied feeding 38 species of birds during this period. Three birds strictly fed on suet. One species ate suet and fruit. An additional four species consumed only hummingbird nectar, or jelly. The remaining 30 species either exclusively ate seeds or also supplemented their diet with other foods too.
In addition, five species were only seen using our birdbaths.
The keys to attracting the greatest variety of birds to your feeder include offering birds a wide variety seeds (sunflower seeds, white millet, safflower seeds), suet, jelly, hummingbird nectar, cornbread, fruits, nuts, and the like. Offer these foods in a variety of feeders and locations. Some birds simply prefer to feed on the ground, other avian diners are more likely to visit feeders suspended from wires or sitting atop poles. Also, it is a good idea to space feeders widely apart; this reduces competition between the various birds visiting your feeding area.
Now that we are in the winter bird feeding season, how many different species of birds, do you anticipate seeing at your feeders during the next few months? Depending on where you live in Georgia, I would say, you would be doing exceptionally well if you see as many as 25 species this winter. As a rule, urban homeowners feed fewer birds than those folks living in suburban and rural settings do. However even though I suspect most of us will feed fewer than 25 birds this winter. Speaking for myself, I will be enjoying watching whatever birds show up.